MCC Statement on Gov. LePage’s Recent Remarks
August 27, 2016
The Maine Council of Churches has a longstanding commitment to promoting civility in our state’s public discourse. Thus we were dismayed at Governor LePage’s recent statements regarding race and racial profiling, his use of highly offensive language in the voicemail message he left for Representative Drew Gattine, and his mention, during a subsequent interview, of a wish to shoot Rep. Gattine.
The type of vitriolic personal attack and disrespect in the governor’s voicemail message and interview flagrantly violated the principle of maintaining respectful civility when speaking to or about those with whom one disagrees. The words he chose to use in the message and interview were unspeakable—and yet he spoke them, disgracing the office of governor and dishonoring our state in the eyes of the nation.
In addition, by framing the devastating drug trafficking and addiction problem our state faces as being fundamentally about race when it simply is not, and by promoting racial profiling, the governor further violates fundamental principles of civil discourse.
This summer, the Council has been inviting all candidates for statewide office to sign a Civil Discourse Covenant thereby committing to act with respect toward others, refrain from personal attacks, refuse to make untrue statements, and value honesty, truth and civility while striving to find workable solutions. We urge Governor LePage to consider signing this covenant as a sign he intends to change his behavior so as to act in a manner befitting the office of Governor of our great state. A copy of the Civil Discourse Covenant can be found at mainecouncilofchurches.org.
The Council will be hosting a statewide symposium on civility in politics featuring keynote speaker Senator George Mitchell, Thursday, October 20, 7:30am to 9:30am, Best Western Hotel, Waterville.
Founded in 1938, the Maine Council of Churches represents nine denominations (Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Roman Catholic, Swedenborgian, Unitarian Universalist, and United Church of Christ) and their 550 local congregations across the state.